President Obama on Monday night addressed activists with Organizing for Action as they launch a drive to enroll consumers in Obamacare and said his last campaign would be making sure his signature health care law “works for every single person in America.”
“I’ve run my last political campaign, but I’ve got one more campaign in me. The campaign to make sure this law works for every single person in America,” said Obama at an event at the St. Regis hotel in Washington, D.C.
Obama delivered the remarks during an event focused on health care put together by OFA, which backs the president’s policies and was formed from the remnants of his 2012 campaign apparatus.
OFA is launching an effort to help register consumers in the insurance exchanges. The group has pledged to rally grassroots volunteers and workers in their enrollment drive, and last week unveiled a new website and video encouraging families to discuss health insurance and sign up over the holiday season.
The OFA summit comes amid the botched rollout of the administration’s exchanges and charges from critics of Obamacare that the president misled the public about whether they would be able to keep their insurance plans under the health care reforms.
Obama on Monday defended his health law and vowed to press ahead to implement Obamacare.
“We’re going to smooth this thing out and we are going to keep on going,” Obama said. “It is too important to too many people in this generation and future generations.”
The president urged his supporters to “stay on track to make this thing work.”
The administration faces a challenging task in the rollout of the health law. The website launched to enroll consumers in the new insurance marketplaces has been riddled with technical issues. Administration officials have vowed that the website will be fixed by December, and have encouraged consumers to register for Obamacare via call centers and by mail.
A report from ABC News on Monday cited Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services memos that said even those consumers would face the same delays in enrolling for health plans because all applicants still needed to be processed through the same website.
The administration has also been on the defensive about Obama’s claim that people who liked their insurance plans could keep them under Obamacare. Some insurance providers have begun dropping consumers from plans.
The White House says Obama’s earlier statements were accurate and that consumers whose plans did not fail to meet the law's requirements could stick with their coverage.
Obama addressed the controversies that have hit the administration during the rollout.
The president said that under his law, those who had been dropped would be able to find better plans with more benefits at lower costs.
“Nobody is going to lose their right to health insurance coverage, nobody can be dropped all together,” Obama said. “Those days are over.
“The bottom line is we are making the insurance market better for everybody,” he added.
Critics have slammed the rollout of the exchanges, arguing that the website is just one problem with a law they say is unworkable.
Democrats worry that missteps during the rollout will undermine support for Obama’s signature domestic achievement or hurt the party at the polls in the 2014 midterms.
The White House has conceded that enrollment numbers will likely be lower than expected initially because of the website troubles.
“I can promise you that the first enrollment numbers, which will be released later this month, are not going to be what we want them to be. There’s no question about that,” said White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer on ABC on Sunday.
But the administration says they expect more Americans to enroll as they reach the deadline and learn more about the law. Pfeiffer said that if the website was fixed, “we're going to be able to get this done.”
Obama and his surrogates say that even with the glitchy website, the rest of the law is already delivering benefits to millions of Americans.
The president on Monday sought to reassure his supporters, citing stories of Americans who were already benefitting from the law.
“I'm asking all of you to go out there and share these stories far and wide,” said Obama.